Will the Next Generation Know God? That is the title of my sermon for Sunday from Judges chapter 2. Please go read it ahead of time along with the rest of your family and ponder what it teaches you. This is for parents with children in the home or not, for aunts and uncles, grandparents, singles who have influence with children; this is for the entire church. We all have the duty to teach children God’s word so that by His grace they will grow up to know and serve God.
The letter to the editor pictured above is very fitting in light of this Sunday’s text and in light of yet another school shooting recently at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The whole nation is crying out for solutions to fix this horrifying problem. What is causing the problem? Guns? Mental illness? Or is there an underlying problem deeper than any of these suggestions get at?
Lisa Roberson is a retired school teacher with the very strong opinion that our schools have big problems because our homes have big problems. More simply put, parents have big problems. Of course there are many facets to the problem of school shootings and it’s shortsighted to think only one piece will fix the entire puzzle. But maybe she has a really good point. Maybe, in a way, parents are a big part of the problem.
I grew up in the home of a school teacher. My incredible mother taught school for thirty-one years in rural West Tennessee. When I read the letter to the editor I can hear my mother’s voice echoing in my mind. I must have heard her say the exact same thing a thousand times. Teachers do not have the ability to undo all the dysfunction in order to properly teach a child from a home where they have not been disciplined properly by their parents. My mom and this retired teacher were saying these things thirty years ago or more. Is it any wonder our schools and society have gotten to where we are today?
Judges chapter two tells us exactly what the problem is. It isn’t that mom and dad aren’t spending enough time with Jeff and Julie shopping and playing sports. It’s that they’re not teaching Jeff and Julie who God is, what sin is, that God demands their repentance, that He provides mercy to those who repent, and that He opposes and punishes those who refuse. The result for those who listen and humbly repent is the gospel of Jesus makes them new from the inside out. Those who don’t ruin their own lives as well as the lives of others with their sinful behavior. When you read the rest of the book of Judges you see in the Bible exactly what is happening to our society. Israel became Sodom and Gomorrah. So has our nation.
This Sunday is for our children! Parents, hear God’s instruction for you to teach your children the gospel at home daily so you can bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:1-4).